Controversial Government proposals to ‘push through’ problem planning applications could see even more wind farms built in our area, concerned Heath Hayes and Wimblebury councillors have warned.
Heath Hayes and Wimblebury Councillor John Jillings said the decision by the Government to establish an Infrastructure Planning Commission, which will have the final say on contentious and problem applications such as wind farms, would take away the power from people directly affected by the proposals.
He fears developers may see the Chase area an easy option and look to place more windfarms in the district.
The new ruling comes in the wake of another public meeting about the proposals to build a wind farm with huge turbines on the former Bleak House site in Wimblebury this week.
Residents destined to live in the shadow of the turbines have formed the Bleak House Wind Farm Action Group which has set up a website under the banner Staffordshire Protest Against Wind Farms (SPAWF).
Previous representations by developers Harworth Power, who hope to erect three 200ft wind turbines on currently vacant land at the Bleak House site, have been met with a tidal wave of criticism from protestors in Cannock and Burntwood alike.
Hundreds of letters of objection have now been lodged with Cannock Council’s Beecroft Road offices.
Councillor John Jillings feared future resident opposition to windfarms would be futile if the new law is passed.
He said: “Taking the authority to approve planning applications for wind-farms away from elected politicians and giving it to an unelected quango, is a cynical and undemocratic ploy to push through developments that will affect the lives of thousands of people.
“We know that Harworth Power originally wanted to build more towers, and it was only the limited influence given to the public by the current planning system that has forced those to be scaled back.
“I am concerned that the arrival of of this new body may encourage developers to look at this and other areas of Cannock Chase, in the knowledge that they are more likely to be successful in the future.”
The new pressure group will meet once every two weeks to discuss their progress.
They are also planning to launch a series of exhibitions in the areas surrounding the site, to let people hear what they have to say.
By Kevin Edge
3 July 2008
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